Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the relationship between social identity and adherence in the context of a school-based, 8-week structured group exercise program. Methods: Secondary students (N = 116; M age = 15.52 years) from 10 newly formed school-based exercise clubs reported social identity perceptions specific to their exercise group, which were used to predict attendance and intentions to return to the club in the future. Results: Controlling for sex and grade level, the results of hierarchical regression analysis revealed that exercise group social identity was significantly positively related to program attendance (ΔR 2 = .09, p < .01). A positive relationship was also found between exercise group social identity and intentions to return to the exercise club in the future, while also controlling for sex, grade level, and program attendance (ΔR 2 = .05, p < .05). Discussion/Conclusion: The findings suggest that stronger exercise group social identity in the form of ingroup ties is associated with greater attendance and intention to return to the school-based exercise club among secondary school students.
Mark W. Bruner, Colin McLaren, and Kevin S. Spink
Rachel A. Van Woezik, Alex J. Benson, and Mark W. Bruner
Injuries are commonplace in high-intensity sport, and research has explored how athletes are psychologically affected by such events. As injuries carry implications for the group environment in sport teams, the authors explored what occurs within a team during a time period of injury from a coach perspective and how high-performance coaches manage a group at this time. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 Canadian university basketball head coaches. Thematic analysis revealed four high-order themes in relation to how coaches managed group dynamics from the moment of the injury event to an athlete’s reintegration into the lineup. Strategies to mitigate the negative effects of injury on the group environment while prioritizing athlete well-being involved remaining stoic at the time of an injury event, maintaining the injured athlete’s sense of connection to the team, and coordinating with support staff throughout the recovery and reintegration process.
Mark W. Bruner, Mark Eys, Jeremie M. Carreau, Colin McLaren, and Rachel Van Woezik
Team building (TB) is recognized as one of the most prevalent and promising group-development interventions applied in sport. However, most coaches lack the necessary information to effectively and efficiently target and enhance specific group characteristics and processes. The aim of this study was to develop and apply the Team Environment AssessMent (TEAM) to better inform a TB intervention. Twenty-three male adolescent athletes (mean age 17.9 years) from an elite hockey team completed the TEAM and measures of cohesion before and after a TB intervention. Based on initial TEAM scores, role acceptance and leadership were identified and purposefully targeted in the TB intervention. Athletes’ perceptions of role acceptance, leadership, and task cohesion were stronger after the TB intervention. Furthermore, follow-up interviews with team members and coaches provided additional empirical support for the utility of the TEAM to assess and enhance the efficiency of a TB intervention in sport.
Jordan D. Herbison, Terry W. Cowan, Luc J. Martin, Zach Root, and Mark W. Bruner
This study sought to examine coaches’ perceptions of social identity among their athletes and explore the ways that they may attempt to influence its development. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 head coaches (M age = 49.25 years; SD = 6.5 years; M experience = 15.75 years; SD = 7.66 years; n female = 1) of male (n = 8) and female (n = 4) competitive youth ice hockey teams. Three main themes were identified through our analysis. First, the coaches’ perceptions of athletes’ social identities were described through examples of peer connection and similarity (i.e., in-group ties), athletes’ experience of positive affect (i.e., in-group affect), and athletes demonstrating the meaning and value that they attribute to team membership (i.e., cognitive centrality). Second, the coaches discussed a variety of ways that they sought to develop and reinforce a shared social identity within their teams. These behaviors aligned with principles advanced within the social identity leadership literature—namely, the coaches acted as in-group prototypes, in-group champions, entrepreneurs of identity, and embedders of identity. Finally, the coaches identified parents and cliques as key social agents with the ability to undermine social identity development. The findings are discussed in relation to both their theoretical and practical implications.
Mark W. Bruner, Ian D. Boardley, Veronica Allan, Christopher Forrest, Zachary Root, and Jean Côté
Social identity has been found to play a salient role in regulating teammate behavior among youth participating in a range of sports (Bruner, Boardley, & Côté, 2014). This study aimed to better understand social identity by examining how it may influence intrateam moral behavior specifically in competitive youth ice hockey. Thirty-six male and female competitive youth ice hockey players from nine teams participated in narrative interviews. Using a thematic narrative analysis, three distinct narratives were identified: (1) family-oriented team narrative, (2) performance-oriented team narrative, and (3) dominance-oriented team narrative. Within each of the narratives, a reciprocal relationship between social identity and intrateam moral behavior was reported such that young athletes’ social identities developed through team membership may influence and be influenced by their moral behavior toward teammates. Collectively, the results extend previous research by providing an in-depth qualitative understanding of social identity and intrateam moral behavior in youth sport.
Mark W. Bruner, Jeremie M. Carreau, Kathleen S. Wilson, and Michael Penney
The purpose of this study was to investigate youth athletes’ perceptions of group norms for competition, practice, and social setting contexts in relation to personal and social factors. A secondary purpose of this study was to examine the interactions of the personal and situation factors on perceptions of group norms. Participants included 424 athletes from 35 high school sport teams who completed a survey assessing team norms in competition, practice, and social settings. Multilevel analysis results revealed differences in group norms by gender as well as gender by team tenure and gender by sport type interactions. Female teams held higher perceptions of norms for competition, practice, and social settings than male teams. Interactions between gender and team tenure and gender and sport type revealed significant differences in practice norms. No differences were found in norms by group size. The findings suggest that examining the characteristics of the team members (i.e., gender, team tenure) and team (i.e., type of sport) may enhance our understanding of group norms in a youth sport setting.
Mark W. Bruner, Karen E. Chad, Jodie A. Beattie-Flath, M. Louise Humbert, Tanya C. Verrall, Lan Vu, and Nazeem Muhajarine
This study monitored the physical activity behavior of adolescent students over a ten month school year. Physical activity was assessed at two month intervals using selfreport and objective (Actical accelerometers) measures. Self-report results (n = 547) indicated a decline in physical activity throughout the school year for all grades and genders. The decline was attributed largely to a decrease in organized activity participation. Objective physical activity results (n = 40) revealed a significant decline in activity in the latter half of the school year (February to June). Declining physical activity was attributed to a decrease in vigorous activity which was consistent across grade and gender. Collectively, the results highlight the importance of promoting consistent opportunities for adolescents to be active throughout the school year.
Jordan D. Herbison, Luc J. Martin, Alex J. Benson, Colin D. McLaren, Richard B. Slatcher, Ian D. Boardley, Jordan Sutcliffe, Jean Côté, Justin M. Carré, and Mark W. Bruner
This study used ecological sampling methods to examine associations between youth athletes’ experiences receiving and engaging in behaviors indicative of in-group ties, cognitive centrality, and in-group affect (i.e., social identity) during a 3-day competitive ice hockey tournament. Forty-five youth (M age = 12.39 years; SD age = 1.14 years; 94% male) from nine teams wore an electronically activated recorder that captured brief (50-s) audio observations throughout the tournament. Participants also completed daily diary questionnaires for each day of competition. Multilevel structural equation modeling demonstrated that athletes were more likely to engage in behaviors indicative of in-group affect and cognitive centrality on days when they received as higher-than-average frequency of behaviors indicative of cognitive centrality from teammates, coaches, and parents. The findings suggest that when team members interact in ways that demonstrate they are thinking about their team, they influence fellow members to behave in ways that promote a sense of “us.”
Rachel A. Van Woezik, Colin D. McLaren, Jean Côté, Karl Erickson, Barbi Law, Denyse Lafrance Horning, Bettina Callary, and Mark W. Bruner
In an ever-evolving society, sport coaches are presented with a number of avenues through which they can acquire and refine their coaching knowledge. The purpose of this research was to replicate and extend past research to gain an up-to-date understanding of how coaches are presently gaining knowledge. This was done through a constructive replication using a sequential explanatory mixed-method design. Study 1 included 798 coaches who completed an online questionnaire detailing their use of 16 sources of coaching knowledge. Coaches’ top three most used sources were interacting with coaches, learning by doing, and observing others. In contrast, the top three most preferred sources were observing others, interacting with coaches, and having a mentor. To contextualize these findings, Study 2 used a qualitative design in which 14 coaches were interviewed to understand their experiences with different knowledge sources. Five distinct narrative types were identified: recent elite athletes, parent coaches, coach developers, teacher coaches, and experienced coaches. Coaches reported engaging in more social and unstructured learning experiences, and the reasons for their preferences appeared to differ based on lifestyle and perceived barriers. Collectively, these findings highlight how coaches gain knowledge and why they prefer certain sources over others.